Vol. 3, Issue 12                                       December 2018
As we close 2018, I thought this would be a good time to recap some of the highlights we have seen in Sedgwick County over the past year. 

We started off the year with the ribbon cutting at the new joint Law Enforcement Training Center in January. The County successfully partnered with the City of Wichita and together, we saved about $20 million over a previous plan. The construction took about 18 months, but the discussion took decades. This new $10 million building is located on the Wichita State University Innovation Campus. 

The County started reconstruction on the Kellogg & I-235 interchange in November 2015. If you have driven by there lately, you will notice the cranes and cones are all gone. All the new ramps are open and the speed limits are normal again. I am calling it complete even though the project will not be officially complete until the grading and landscaping are finalized in spring 2019. Sedgwick County paid cash over three years to meet the local match requirement of $11.6 million. 

This year, the county invested more in the Emergency Medical System. We remodeled one EMS station in north Wichita, saving about $1.5 million. For efficiency, we challenged ourselves to reduce the costs related to constructing new facilities. Then we broke ground on another EMS station for northeast Wichita. The new design will save about $1 million over previous designs. The station is expected to open in a few weeks.

The county invested $7 million in a partnership with Wichita and Spirit AeroSystems to create 1,000 new jobs and secure a $1 billion capital investment in Wichita. In November, we approved IRBs that added several hundred more jobs. Then this week, Spirit announced another 1,400 jobs. Our commitment to Spirit is having a direct impact on Derby.  

Another interesting accomplishment is the renaming of the Wichita-Valley Center Flood Control Project also known as the “Big Ditch.” When Big Ditch Mitch, the inspirational creator of the ditch, passed away in 2017, Sedgwick County started the process to honor this local hero who dreamed big. It was announced this week that this effort to rename the legacy flood-control project the “M.S. ‘Mitch’ Mitchell Floodway” is now headed to the President’s desk for approval. 

There is so much more I could highlight. Truly, this has been a great year. I hope these good news items make you smile during this giving season. We have a great County with great employees. I wish you and them a very safe holiday season! 
Non-emergency line in effect for New Year's Eve
The Sedgwick County Courthouse and Sedgwick County offices will be closed Tuesday, January 1 in observance of the New Year's holiday. Emergency services are available by dialing 9-1-1.

The Sedgwick County Emergency Communications’ non-emergency phone line, 
316-290-1011, will be available during the following hours: 
9 p.m., December 31, to 1 a.m., January 1

This line functions as an alternative to 911 and is meant to receive calls for non-emergency nuisances that do not pose a threat to life or property; examples include complaints pertaining to parties, excess noise, fireworks, etc.  

The non-emergency line was established to prevent an influx of nuisance calls that can block emergency calls from reaching a call taker; the non-emergency line is activated during times of historically high call volumes and as otherwise needed. If someone calls 9-1-1 with a non-emergency, they will be transferred to the non-emergency line.
New EMS Post opening soon
Construction is nearly complete at EMS Post 15 on north Webb Road. Once finished, this Post will be a 2,998 square foot, pre-engineered steel structure with double drive-thru bays. It will be staffed 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and will have the capacity to house two 24/7 crews and ambulances if needed in the future. County leaders broke ground on this project in June and its formal opening is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8. 
 
MultiCon, Inc. and Krehbiel Architecture were selected to be the general contractor and architect for this project. 
 
Crews continue to work on the Kellogg/ I-235 interchange rebuild. This first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Update on Kellogg/ 235 interchange
Project updates can be found at www.235kelloggcentral.com and include:

  • All ramps are open but temporary lane closures are possible for regular maintenance chores or to complete minor items from the construction punch list.
  • Work continues on bridge painting, landscaping, and fence construction but traffic should not be affected.
Projects in District 5
Bridge construction on Pawnee both east and west of 143 rd St. E
  • Construction began October 22, 2018
  • Pawnee to be closed into Spring 2019
  • 143rd St. W to remain open
Sedgwick County Zoo names Mark C. Reed Director Emeritus
Mark C. Reed retired as Executive Director of the Sedgwick County Zoo on Dec. 31. 2016. Reed came to SCZ as Assistant Director in 1979, and was named Executive Director in 1991. 
 
Reed led the way for significant growth and expansion at the Zoo during his 37-year tenure, culminating with the opening of the Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley habitat in 2016. Reed’s foresight and leadership has resulted in the Sedgwick County Zoo being considered one of the best in the world. 

In honor of Reed’s distinguished service to the Sedgwick County Zoo, the Sedgwick County Zoological Society Board of Trustees has voted to present him with the title of Director Emeritus. 
 
“Mark worked hard to make our Zoo something for the community to be proud of,” said Executive Director Dr. Jeff Ettling. “His legacy will be something we’ll always celebrate.”
 
Additionally, Mark Reed recently received the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Heini Hediger award, given to leaders in the global zoo and aquarium community. Hediger is known as the “father of zoo biology.”
COMCARE pilot program shows early success
COMCARE gave an update on its school-based mental health pilot program at the December 12 Board of County Commissioners meeting. The program places therapists and case managers into 22 U.S.D. 259 schools and aims to help students work through emotional issues before they set them back academically. With these new ways to cope, students can stay engaged with their schoolwork, and avoid any stigma from having to leave class. Both teachers and students have embraced the pilot program. Since launching in August, the program has successfully enrolled 401 students, with 800 students being the final target for the school year.  
County's 2019 Adopted Budget now online
The 2019 Adopted Budget is now available for review online. Commissioners adopted the budget and a five-year Capital Improvement Plan on August 15.

A direct link to the document can be found here: https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/media/40603/2019-adopted-budget.pdf  

The Adopted Budget focuses County resources on four priorities: safe and secure communities, human services and cultural experiences, communications and engagement, and effective government organization. The total budget is almost $440 million.

To help you understand more how your property taxes are used, Sedgwick County developed a quick way for you to see how those dollars are spent and allocated on government operations and other priorities. At the “My Local Taxes” online application, you will find two sources of information: Your Total Taxes by Jurisdiction and your Sedgwick County Taxes at Work. Click here to learn more: https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/finance/my-local-taxes/.
County leaders attend Spirit AeroSystems announcement
One year after making a formal commitment to grow the company, Spirit AeroSystems announced it plans to hire 1,400 additional employees at its Wichita location. Local and State officials joined Spirit AeroSystems in making this announcement and celebrating one of the region’s key stakeholders. 
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the all-new, 5,100 square foot Design Build Fly exhibit celebrates our community’s aviation industry. Visitors encounter dozens of hands-on activities that focus on manufacturing and engineering to reveal what happens behind-the-scenes in our aircraft plants.   
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  
County Information
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203
 
Contact Strategic Communications Director:
Van Williams, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203 
 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 315, Wichita, KS 67203